The Habs have avoided salary arbitration with centre Phillip Danault, inking him to a three-year, $9.25 million deal. He was slated for an arbitration hearing on Friday.
Danault was acquired from Chicago back in 2016 along with a second-round pick (Alexander Romanov) in exchange for wingers Dale Weise and Tomas Fleischmann. To say that the trade has worked out nicely for Montreal would be quite the understatement.
Danault has emerged as someone that the team is confident using in all situations as he has spent a significant amount of time in the top-six over the last two years (even though his most ideal role may be as a two-way third liner).
Last season, the 25-year-old had a rough season in terms of injuries. He missed considerable time with a concussion after taking a Zdeno Chara shot to the head. Shortly after coming back, he took a high stick in March against the Lightning and didn’t return for the rest of the season. Overall, he wound up playing in just 52 games, scoring eight goals while adding 17 assists.
This contract buys out Danault’s two remaining RFA years plus one season of UFA eligibility. While fewer UFA years keeps the AAV down, it also means that Danault will be eligible to test the open market as a 28-year-old in the prime of his career.
The Habs now have all of their regular players under contract for next season (Michael McCarron and Kerby Rychel are still unsigned but neither project to be regulars). They have well over $7 million in cap room so it will be interesting to see if GM Marc Bergevin decides to get creative and takes on another salary cap dump as he did last month or if they once again go into the season well under the Upper Limit.